01.12.2015 | Ausgabe 4/2015
The Complementary Role of Transcription Factors in the Accurate Diagnosis of Clinically Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas
- Hiroshi Nishioka, Naoko Inoshita, Ozgur Mete, Sylvia L. Asa, Kyohei Hayashi, Akira Takeshita, Noriaki Fukuhara, Mitsuo Yamaguchi-Okada, Yasuhiro Takeuchi, Shozo Yamada
Clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFAs) may be hormonally inactive tumors of differentiated cells, mainly not only gonadotroph adenomas (GAs) but also silent corticotroph adenomas (SCAs) and other differentiated silent adenomas. Recently, the use of transcription factors has been recommended to confirm cytodiffererentiation of these neoplasms. Our objective was to assess the clinical significance of the new classification system using transcription factors. Five hundred sixteen consecutive NFAs were studied retrospectively. They were initially classified based on hormone immunohistochemistry as follows: 119 hormone-negative adenomas (23.1 %), 300 GAs (58.1 %), 51 SCAs (9.9 %), and 46 other silent adenomas. The 119 hormone-negative adenomas were further evaluated for expression of transcription factors including steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1), estrogen receptor-α (ERα), pituitary-specific transcription factor 1 (Pit-1), and t-box transcription factor (Tpit). One hundred thirteen of 119 (95 %) hormone-negative adenomas showed mutually exclusive lineage-specific differentiation as gonadotrophs (SF-1 positive), corticotrophs (Tpit positive), or somatotrophs/mammosomatotrophs/lactotrophs/thyrotrophs (Pit-1 positive) in 79 cases (66.4 %), 32 cases (26.9 %), and 2 cases, respectively. The 32 ACTH-negative and Tpit-positive adenomas had higher pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA expression levels compared with GAs (P = 0.0001) on quantitative real-time PCR. They showed a female preponderance (P < 0.0001) and were more frequently giant adenomas (P = 0.0028) associated with marked cavernous sinus invasion (P < 0.0001) compared with GAs. These clinical features were identical to those of the 51 ACTH-positive SCAs. Our results justify the complementary role of transcription factors in the precise classification of NFAs that can more accurately characterize biological behavior. Our data suggest that more than one quarter of hormone-negative adenomas are SCAs that share distinct clinicopathological features with ACTH-expressing SCAs.